YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!

Difference between revisions of "Bucharest"

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search
Bucharest

Default Banner.jpg

(Sleep)
(City transfer: update)
Line 29: Line 29:
  
 
====City transfer====
 
====City transfer====
*The Henri Coandă Airport lacks reliable transport connections to downtown Bucharest. To get there, travelers can choose between car rentals, taxi (Fly Taxi), limo service and public transport (bus line 783 running from 5:30 AM till midnight, with cheap prices). For the public bus, you need to buy a 2-trip magnetic card (or a city-wide contact-less card) from the booth in front of either the Arrivals or Departures terminals. You are not allowed to buy tickets from the driver.
+
*The Henri Coandă Airport lacks reliable public transport connections to downtown Bucharest. There are just two bus lines to the city, bus '''780''' which goes to the main train station ''Gara de Nord'' and bus '''783''' which heads to downtown; they run daily (including on weekends and holidays) from 5:15 - 5:30 AM till 11:00PM. A one way trip with any of them costs 3.5 lei, but for the 783 bus the cheapest option available is a two-trips card which costs 7 lei. Tickets and cards can only be purchased from the booth in front of either the Arrivals or Departures terminals and not from from the driver.
 
*During the night, only taxis are available from Henri Coandă Airport. The only taxi service allowed to offer transfers from the airport is Fly Taxi (the airport has auctioned the service), all others being pirate taxi services. Up until a few years ago, there was a taxi mafia running there during the night, charging €20-30 to get you to Bucharest (when normally the price would be around €10). Sometimes this still happens, therefore, look for the authorized taxi service, do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and look for the tariff on the meter (for extra-urban trips, current tariffs are around 2-2.2 RON/km (0.6-0.7 €/km) and the distance to any place within the city is 12-20 km). Fly Taxi's rate in June 2008 is 3.3 RON/km. Remember that for €30 you can get anywhere in the country by bus and train, so think twice before you decide to pay a taxi driver the same for a drive of less than 10 km.
 
*During the night, only taxis are available from Henri Coandă Airport. The only taxi service allowed to offer transfers from the airport is Fly Taxi (the airport has auctioned the service), all others being pirate taxi services. Up until a few years ago, there was a taxi mafia running there during the night, charging €20-30 to get you to Bucharest (when normally the price would be around €10). Sometimes this still happens, therefore, look for the authorized taxi service, do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and look for the tariff on the meter (for extra-urban trips, current tariffs are around 2-2.2 RON/km (0.6-0.7 €/km) and the distance to any place within the city is 12-20 km). Fly Taxi's rate in June 2008 is 3.3 RON/km. Remember that for €30 you can get anywhere in the country by bus and train, so think twice before you decide to pay a taxi driver the same for a drive of less than 10 km.
 
*Situated in Bucharest proper, Aurel Vlaicu airport is more easily accessible, either by taxi or public transport. Taxi fares should be 1.4-1.6 RON/km (0.4-0.5 €/km). Do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and remember that downtown Bucharest is about 6-10 km away and there is no place in Bucharest further than 20-25 km. Bus lines 131 and 301 connect it with Piaţa Romană in downtown Bucharest and bus line 205 with the Gara de Nord train station. Bus tickets must be purchased in the big booth at the bus terminal, and cannot be bought from the driver.
 
*Situated in Bucharest proper, Aurel Vlaicu airport is more easily accessible, either by taxi or public transport. Taxi fares should be 1.4-1.6 RON/km (0.4-0.5 €/km). Do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and remember that downtown Bucharest is about 6-10 km away and there is no place in Bucharest further than 20-25 km. Bus lines 131 and 301 connect it with Piaţa Romană in downtown Bucharest and bus line 205 with the Gara de Nord train station. Bus tickets must be purchased in the big booth at the bus terminal, and cannot be bought from the driver.

Revision as of 19:26, 17 February 2009

Bucharest is Romania's capital and largest city, as well as the most important industrial and commercial center of the country. With 2 million inhabitants in the city proper and more than 2.4 million in the urban area, it is also one of the largest cities in Eastern Europe. The population of Bucharest is expected to be around 5 million within the next 10 years.

Understand

Bucharest is the primary entry point into Romania. It typically elicits a wide spectrum of opinions on the part of tourists. Known in the past as "The Little Paris" Bucharest has changed a lot lately and today it has become a very interesting mix of old and new that has little to do with its initial reputation. Finding a 300 years old church near a steel-and-glass building that sit both next to a communist style building is common place in Bucharest. Perhaps "The Big Mix" would be a more appropriate name for the current Bucharest. Some adore it and enjoy its unique charm, while others feel uncomfortable around the gray Communist-era buildings and lack of western style tourist attractions. However, Bucharest offers some excellent attractions, and has, in recent years, cultivated a sophisticated, trendy, and modern sensibility that many have come to expect from a European capital. Bucharest has been undergoing major modernisation programmes in recent years and is still going to continue not if more projects in the years to come. Bucharest is experiencing an economic boom and will be experiencing this boom for many years to come.

Language

The official language is Romanian, a Romance language which is unique in that it is the closest currently-spoken relative to Ancient Latin. Most educated people born after about 1970 will speak reasonably good English and will likely be proficient in one or more second Romance languages; most educated people born before about 1970 will speak reasonably good French and Italian. The Roma people (Gypsies) speak their native Romany, as well as Romanian, and sometimes English as well. Beyond that, as in any major city, there will be a smattering of other languages.

Climate

Bucharest has, like most of Romania, a temperate-continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. This region of Romania gets all four seasons, although spring is brief and falls mainly in April. The average high daily temperature in summer is about 29ºC and in winter about 2ºC. It can get really hot and dry during the summer (40ºC) and really cold during the winter (-20ºC),even though temperatures below -12ºC are extremely rare. Best time to visit is April through June, September through October and early December.

Time

Bucharest is in the Eastern European time zone (UTC+2, with a DST of UTC+3 from April to October).

Get in

By air

Connections

Bucharest has reasonable connections with most European capitals and with the largest cities in Romania, but it can be difficult to find a direct flight to Bucharest from outside of Europe or the Middle East. Discount air companies have been operating flights to Bucharest since 2004, but it was only in late 2006 - early 2007 that the number of such flights seriously began to grow, so at this point there are low-costs flights to to various destinations in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Turkey and Austria. Low-cost airlines include Blue Air [22], MyAir and Wizz Air [23], all with hubs in Bucharest, as well as Easyjet and Skyeurope [24]). Delta Airlines will be reinstating non-stop service to Bucharest from their New York-JFK hub. The service will operate four times weekly and begins on June 1, 2009.

Airports

Most flights, both international and domestic, land at the Henri Coandă International Airport [25], located in Otopeni, 18 km north of the city downtown. The airport, built in 1968, underwent a massive modernization effort since the late 90's and is set to be further enlarged. It is the main hub for the Romanian flag carrier Tarom [26] and is used by the major international airlines. All concessions inside the airport (shops, cafes, restaurants) are extremely expensive (everything is about twice more expensive than in the city). Avoid exchanging money in the airport, exchange rates are 20-25% worse than what you would find in the city - you are advised to use a credit card at an ATM in the lobby for immediate needs and exchange money downtown.

The smaller Aurel Vlaicu International Airport [27] was used for commercial flights as early as the 1920s; its present building was finished in 1952 based on a 1930s design. It is located inside the city, in Băneasa, about 4-6 km to the city center and is used primarily by business, charter and low-cost airlines: BlueAir [28], WizzAir [29], Easyjet [30] SkyEurope [31], Germanwings [32], MyAir [33]. Note that this airport is amazingly small (only 3 gates), with outdated facilities and becomes extremely crowded especially during the charter season (June-September and December), being built to handle a tenth of the passengers it actually handles. The runway and taxiways have been thoroughly modernized in 2007, and a new terminal building is under construction. Free wi-fi is available (if you can find a place to sit and power-up your laptop, which is no small task). Note that there is no ATM at this airport and that the exchange office has bad exchange rates. However, if you walk out of the airport and turn left (towards the city center) you will find several ATMs two blocks down the road. You can buy public transport tickets at a counter at the bus stop on the other side of the road that runs outside the airport.

City transfer

  • The Henri Coandă Airport lacks reliable public transport connections to downtown Bucharest. There are just two bus lines to the city, bus 780 which goes to the main train station Gara de Nord and bus 783 which heads to downtown; they run daily (including on weekends and holidays) from 5:15 - 5:30 AM till 11:00PM. A one way trip with any of them costs 3.5 lei, but for the 783 bus the cheapest option available is a two-trips card which costs 7 lei. Tickets and cards can only be purchased from the booth in front of either the Arrivals or Departures terminals and not from from the driver.
  • During the night, only taxis are available from Henri Coandă Airport. The only taxi service allowed to offer transfers from the airport is Fly Taxi (the airport has auctioned the service), all others being pirate taxi services. Up until a few years ago, there was a taxi mafia running there during the night, charging €20-30 to get you to Bucharest (when normally the price would be around €10). Sometimes this still happens, therefore, look for the authorized taxi service, do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and look for the tariff on the meter (for extra-urban trips, current tariffs are around 2-2.2 RON/km (0.6-0.7 €/km) and the distance to any place within the city is 12-20 km). Fly Taxi's rate in June 2008 is 3.3 RON/km. Remember that for €30 you can get anywhere in the country by bus and train, so think twice before you decide to pay a taxi driver the same for a drive of less than 10 km.
  • Situated in Bucharest proper, Aurel Vlaicu airport is more easily accessible, either by taxi or public transport. Taxi fares should be 1.4-1.6 RON/km (0.4-0.5 €/km). Do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and remember that downtown Bucharest is about 6-10 km away and there is no place in Bucharest further than 20-25 km. Bus lines 131 and 301 connect it with Piaţa Romană in downtown Bucharest and bus line 205 with the Gara de Nord train station. Bus tickets must be purchased in the big booth at the bus terminal, and cannot be bought from the driver.

By bus

There are bus connections between Bucharest and large cities in Europe (especially in Southern Europe) and also to many large and medium sized cities throughout Romania. Bucharest has several bus terminals: Băneasa (for northern bound routes), Obor (east), Filaret (south), Alexandriei (south-west), Militari (west), and Griviţa (north-west).

The timetables for domestic routes are available here: [34].

By train

Bucharest is linked through direct daily trains to all neighboring countries’ capitals (Belgrade, Budapest, Chişinău, Kiev, Sofia), as well as to Wien, Venice, Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Moscow and of course to main cities in all of Romania’s 41 counties.

All international trains and most long distance internal trains arrive at Gara de Nord (Northern) station, located quite near of the city center, to which it is linked by subway and several buses, trolley, and tramway lines. Some trains to and from the Black Sea Coast use either Gara de Est-Obor (Eastern) station, or Băneasa station,as well as the main Gara de Nord station;currently the rute between Bucharest and Constanta,the main city in the black sea area is undergoing modernisation and you shoud expect long delays so if you can it's best to go by the Gara Obor station because it saves around an hour on your trip. The other three smaller stations (Basarab, Progresul and Republica) are used exclusively for local and regional trains.

The timetables for domestic routes are available here: [35].

Watch out for the shady private taxi services and avoid taking taxis near the stations. Always look to see if the cab driver starts the meter and allert him by saying "aparatul" (AH-pah-rha-thool) while pointing at the meter. There will be drivers offering rides - be extremely wary.

By car

The city’s entrances from the north (the E60 road coming from Braşov), west (the A1 highway from Piteşti), east (the A2 (Sun) highway from Constanţa), south (the E20 road from Giurgiu) and the avenues in the city center are very crowded, especially at rush hours. Inside the city there are few parking spaces and some of the secondary streets are in bad condition.

Get around

Bucharest has one of the most extensive systems of public transport in Europe, even though it can sometimes be confusing and crowded.

Metro (Subway)

Bucharest Metro map

The metro, which has four lines (M1, M2, M3, M4) and covers the city quite extensively, is usually a cheap (2.2(aprox 1$) lei for 2 trips, 8 lei for 10 trips and 23 lei for a monthly pass) and easy way to get around even though there are surprisingly few stops in the city center, since the system was originally built to transport workers and commuters from outlying neighborhoods through the city to peripheral industrial areas. If you're staying outside the city center, or even if you want to travel within it, the Metro can be a very fast and convenient way of traveling to your destination, avoiding the traffic jams and crowds that frequently characterize surface transport.

The network is arguably frequent and fairly comfortable, reliable and easy-to-use. Surprisingly for some, it is by far the safest way to travel through the city. Since 2002, Bucharest Metro has embarked on a comprehensive modernization plan, including the replacement of old train-sets with state-of-the-art Bombardier Transportation trains and the renovation of stations and tracks in collaboration with Alstom. Strangely though the new state-of-the-art trains do not have air-conditioning, which can make peak hour transit uncomfortable.

Pipera station

Line M1 runs west-east,meeting up with the M2 (which runs north-south) at Piaţa Unirii station. Line M3 runs on different west-east route serving the main train station Gara de Nord. The newest line, M4, partially opened March 1st 2000, very modern and clean, starts from Gara de Nord and, when completed, will link it with the airports in the northern part of town.

Maps of the subway can be found on the Metrorex official site [36]. A midlet for Java enabled mobile phones is also available here: [37].

Buses, trams and trolleybuses

A bus on line 131

Bucharest has a very complex network of buses, trams and trolleybuses which is, at first glance, fairly confusing to the tourist. This is not because of any inconsistencies within the network, but rather due to the intricate web of hundreds of bus, tram and trolleybus routes found in the city. Once you know your way around the network, however, public surface transport can be a very good way of getting around since there is a bus, tram or trolleybus stop virtually everywhere in this city. The vehicles are usually very frequent, although they can also get terribly crowded at peak hours.

Make sure you know the stop you're getting off at - even though in most trolleybuses and in some modern buses and trams, following stops are announced automatically and displayed on a screen inside the vehicle. However, these displays tend to be not very reliable, pointing to either a wrong stop or not working at all. In addition, the older buses (most commonly found outside the core center) do not have any displays or announcements. If you are uncertain if a stop is the one you want, you can always ask your fellow travelers.

A trolleybus on line 62

The ticketing system uses contact-less smart-cards, called Activ cards [38]. Once bought (you will need some ID to do that) the cards can be loaded with various ticketing options, including some that allow usage on both the subway and surface networks. To validate the card after entering a vehicle (or subway station) hold it still in front of the validating device (an orange box with a small LCD screen) until you hear a short beep. If you do not wish to buy a card, paper tickets valid for one ride on one route are also available (1.3 lei). Be warned that you cannot buy tickets/cards in the vehicles and if caught by an inspector (controlor) you could be fined with 50 lei.

You can check the 2004 surface transport map here: [39] (note: some routes / numbers have changed). A constantly updated site with detailed route information, schedule and interactive maps, with both English and Romanian interfaces can be found here: [40].

By taxi

There are a lot of taxi companies in Bucharest and you'll easily find a cab here. But be aware! Don't take any independent cab drivers, but use only the services of big taxi companies. Cars from these companies have the rates displayed on the door. Each door used to contain an initial "sitting" fee (between 1.6 to 3 RON), a per km fee (1.4 to 3.6 RON) and per hour fee. However, taxis now display a single number which is both the initial "sitting fee" and the per km fee. The per hour fee is not listed, but should be around ten times the per km fee. Independent have significantly higher fees (up to ten times the average!) If a taxi does not display these prices on the door it is best not to take it and find another, as you'll probably be charged a rate five to ten times higher than usual. Also, it should be noted that some taxis now have a low "nighttime rate" listed in a large font with an expensive daytime rate listed in a small font. So, read carefully and remember that "noapte" means night. And you should insist the driver starts the meter, and pay the sum displayed on it. You can find a list of taxi companies here: [41]. If you are traveling outside the city limits (say to or from the airport) prices per km and per hour are often doubled, or an extra 10-15 RON is added to the fare. Be wary of taking taxis from places where a lot of tourists pass through, especially from Gara de Nord. Many of these taxis may be operated by con men. Tourists being asked to pay large sums to recover their luggage from the trunk or even muggings after taxi rides are not unheard of.

See

Important Landmarks

Light show on the Palace of Parliament
  • Parliament Palace - In the center of Bucharest, near Piaţa Unirii (Union Plazza), the tourist can see the world's second largest building (after the US Pentagon), formerly named "Casa Poporului" (People's House). The building, which was built in 1984 by Nicolae Ceauşescu, spans 12 stories, 3100 rooms and covers over 330,000 sq m. 1/9 of Bucharest was reconstructed to accommodate this magnificent massive building and its surroundings. There are 45 minute tours every half hour which lead through the building's vast collection of marble rooms and culminates in an impressive view from Nicolae Ceauşescu's balcony. The marble and all the original decorations are 100% from Romania.
  • Old Center - A part of the city's historical heart wasn't demolised by Nicolae Ceauşescu. The area (stretching approximatively between the Dâmboviţa river to the south, Calea Victoriei) to the west, Calea Moşilor to the east and Regina Elisabeta boulevard to the north) today contains an assortment of middle 19th century buildings, ruins of the Wallachian princes' medieval court, churches, narrow cobblestoned streets which keep the names of the ancient guilds that resided on them, bank headquarters, a few hotels, clubs, restaurants and shops. So far too little has been done for the preservation and reconditioning of many historical buildings and streets there, but the area is now in a rehabilitation project set to be finished after 2012.
  • Revolution Square (Piaţa Revoluţiei) - Site of part of the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Centrally located, it is not a long walk from the other squares, Gara de Nord, or the Parliament Palace. There is a tall monument in the center of the square in memory of those who died during the revolution.

Museums

  • Village Museum –an original open air museum created in 1934, it currently has around 300 traditional buildings (including churches, workshops, mills etc.) plus furniture, pottery, clothing gathered from villages in every region of the country in an effort to showcase the traditional way of life of the Romanians. Occasionally hosts folkloric and traditional crafts festivals. Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr.28-30
Museum of the Romanian Peasant
  • Museum of the Romanian Peasant –also dedicated to the traditional way of life, it focuses mainly on traditional interior decoration, tools, clothing and artifacts. Again, it sometimes hosts folkloric and traditional crafts festivals. In 1996, it won the European Museum of the Year Award. Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 3 [42]
  • Art Museum -located in the building of the former Royal Palace, has collections of ancient, modern and contemporary Romanian art as well as exhibitions of rare European art dating as early as the 14th century.Calea Victoriei, nr. 49-53
  • National Museum of Contemporary Art [43] Recently opened inside a converted wing of the Palace of the Parliament, in what had been the private apartments of Ceauşescu, the museum features fresh exhibitions from Romania's burgeoning art scene.
  • “Curtea Veche” (Old Court) Museum –the ruins of the crown palace of the Wallachian princes, some parts dating as early as the 16th century. It’s around an earlier fortification located in this same place that Bucharest began to develop.Strada Franceză, nr. 25-31
  • Cotroceni Palace Museum –has collections of objects that belonged to the former Romanian royal family. Today it is also the residence of the Romanian presidents.Bd. Geniului, nr. 1
  • National History Museum -located in a neoclassical late 19th century building, has exhibits documenting the evolution of society on Romania’s territory from the Paleolithic until today, a replica of Trajan’s Column in Rome and a very interesting numismatics collection.Calea Victoriei, nr. 12
  • Bucharest History Museum –situated in the Şuţu Palace, built in 1834, has collections related to the development of Bucharest from a small 14th century fortress into Romania’s capital.Bd. I.C. Brătianu, nr. 2
  • Military History Museum –has collections of weapons dating since the prehistoric times and permanent exhibitions dedicated to important military events, including the Romanian revolution of 1989, as well as an outdoor exhibit of relatively modern weaponry, including cannons, tanks, helicopters etc.Strada M. Vulcănescu, nr. 125-127
  • Jewish Community History Museum –documenting the life of this community in the region since ancient times and through the Holocaust.Strada Mămulari, nr. 3
  • “Grigore Antipa” Natural History Museum –has over 300.000 exhibits illustrating the transformations of Earth and the evolution of species. Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 1
  • Geology Museum –has a large collection of minerals, rocks and fossils.Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 2
  • “Dimitrie Leonida” Technology Museum –is set to be relocated in a wing of the Parliament Palace
  • Aviation Museum –open-air display of various types of aircraft.Otopeni airport
  • Railways Museum–rarely opened.Calea Griviţei, nr. 139B
  • Firefighters Museum –likewise.Bd. Ferdinand, nr. 33

There are also a number of smaller museums, housing private collections, notably the “D. Minovici" Western European Arts Museum located in a beautiful eclectic villa (strada N. Minovici, nr.3) and numerous memorial houses dedicated to various literary, scientifical and political personalities.

Churches and monasteries

  • Curtea Veche (Old Court) Church –built around 1559, used to be the coronation church of the Wallachian princes.Near Piata Unirii.
  • Patriarhiei Church (1658) and Mitropoliei Palace (1708) –the residence of the Orthodox Patriarch, sort of a small Romanian Vatican.Located on the hill overlooking Piata Unirii.
The Stavropoleos Church
  • Stavropoleos Church –built in the early 18th century, has some stunning decorative sculpture. In the old center area.
  • Colţea Church – (1702) it’s the first church in Bucharest built in the Brancovenesc style. Near Piaţa Universităţii.
  • Sfântu Gheorghe Nou (New St. George) Church –dating from the 18th century, houses the tombs of the princes Constantin Brâncoveanu and Ion Mavrocordat. At half way between Piaţa Universităţii and Piaţa Unirii.
  • Kretzulescu Church –another interesting example of the Brancovenesc style (1722). On the left side of the National Art Museum.
  • Plumbuita Monastery –built in the last half of the 16th century, it once housed the first printing house in the region (1582); today has a religious objects museum and a large park. Relatively far from the city center, on Şoseaua Colentina.

Do

There are two free weekly guides published in Bucharest featuring all the events of the week, as well as listing the addresses of most restaurants, clubs, pubs, bars, cinemas etc. in the city. One is Şapte Seri (Seven Nights), the other 24-FUN. They have small sections in English available.

Walking / Recreation

  • Parks

- Cismigiu Garden is a lovable small park, the oldest in the city (designed 1845-1860), located in its very center. Has boat rental in summer, ice skating in winter time, a reasonable restaurant and several bars.

- Herastrau Park (the largest of several parks around man-made lakes on the Colentina River running through the city’s north and east side) houses the Village Museum, an open-air theater, various sports grounds, something like an amusement park and numerous restaurants and clubs. Has boat rental and boat-trips in summer.

A park in northern Bucharest

- The Botanical Garden, established in 1884 near Cotroceni Palace, displays a variety of plants from all over the world, including an indoor tropical plants exhibition. Small entry fee.

- Carol Park(designed in 1906), a quiet oasis not so far from Piata Unirii, has an open-air theater replicating a Roman arena and another construction replicating a medieval fortress. It houses the tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as an infamous mausoleum built for the Communist nomenclature.

- Tineretului Park, just one subway station south of Piata Unirii, has a large multipurpose building (Sala Polivalenta) used for various concerts, sporting events, exhibitions etc., an amusement park for children, boat-rental, several restaurants and bars.

- Titan Park (also known as IOR Park), a green oasis amongst Communist era high rise apartment buildings in the eastern part of the city (Titan subway station), has a charming wooden church as well as several lake-side clubs.

Clubbing

  • cafe hazard, Baratiei (coming from Uniri towards Universitate, take your first right after the fornetti store and then your first left.), 0727700107. 3:00pm-5:00am. A rock bar, with a great atmosphere open thinking, great beer and great people
  • Gossip, Str. Lanariei 90 (near Tineretului Park), +4021 337 47 88, +4072 254 85 43 (), [1]. 6PM - 6AM. If too many places like Gossip keep opening up, then Bucharest is going to end up as the club capital of Eastern Europe (if it isn't already). This is currently the city's after hours favorite, where the great and good comes to chill out after shaking its expensive thang at other locations. More and more though it is trying to break into the all-night scene, and has been bringing over big name house and breakbeat DJs in order to do so. Closed indefinitely since 2006.
  • Club A, (near University Square), +4021 313 55 92, [2]. 6PM - 6AM. The first and oldest club in Bucharest, with nearly 40 years tradition (this means amazingly much for a city where most clubs are less than 5 years old). Since the beginning, it was and remains a student pub and club, with an unpretentious but welcoming atmosphere, good music and low prices.
  • Fire Club, (near Lipscani), +4021-312.70.19, [3]. The most well known rock and metal club in Bucharest. By day a pub and outdoor cafe
  • Twice, (near Unirii Square). One of the largest clubs in Bucharest, with two separate dance floors and two giant bars ;one of the livest clubs in the city,with reasonable priced drinks and usually pretty crowded.
  • Planter's, strada Mendeleev 8 (near Piata Amzei), +40723 559 908 (), [4]. Geared mostly to the ex-pat community and rather expensive
  • Fabrica, str. 11 Iunie nr. 50 (near Unirii Market), +40 21 335 0323 (), [5]. Urban/Groove/Indie music, a popular club with students and young professionals. Average prices.
  • Bamboo, Str. Ramuri Tei 39 (in Tei Park), +40722 132 283 (), [6]. It's the largest club in Bucharest. Upmarket and expensive.
  • The Office, Str. Tache Ionescu 2 (in the Piata Romana area), 4021 211 67 48 (), [7].
  • Queen’s Club, E-4, Str. Mihai Bravu 32, tel. 0722 75 42 93, (), [8]. Like Gay clubs the world over, this place has become tremendously popular with a non-Gay set fed up with the meat market atmosphere at so many of the city’s other locations. That, together with superb music, makes this an essential stop for hedonists of all persuasions. Shake it. It can become quite crowded so watch yourself! price="Entry costs 20.00 lei, but that includes 10.00 lei worth of drinks at the bar." Hours="Open 23:00 - 05:00, Thu 21:00 - 05:00, Sun 20:00 - 05:00. May be closed Mon, Tue, Wed."
  • Fratelli, Str. Nicolae Golescu 5, tel. 311 66 76, (), [9]. Calling itself a bar and lounge, there are certainly enough comfy sofas here to qualify it in the lounge category. The newest addition to this small chain of 3 venues is a mock industrial warehouse accommodating thousands. Relatively pricey (cocktails about 30 Lei). Note credit cards not accepted at the bar.

Buy

Bank headquarters near Piata Victoriei

Major brand-name shops and upscale boutiques are concentrated along the main boulevard from Piata Romana to Piata Unirii and on the small streets adjacent to this boulevard, but also on Calea Victoriei, on Calea Dorobantilor (the part between Blvd. Iancu de Hunedoara and Piata Dorobantilor) or on Calea Mosilor's section between Blvd. Carol I and Piata Obor.

Shopping Malls

In the past years numerous modern shopping centers have sprung up in the city (and even more are in construction), the best known being:

  • Bucharest Mall, Calea Vitan 55-59, tel. 4021 3276700 (fax +40 21 3209209, mailto:[email protected]), [44] - the first one to be completed, in 1999.
  • Jolie Ville, str. Erou Iancu Nicolae nr. 103 bis, Voluntari, judetul Ilfov, tel. 4021 2068001 (fax 40 21 2068 002, mailto:[email protected]), [45]
  • Plaza Romania, Bd. Timisoara nr. 26, tel. 4021 3195050 (fax 4021 3195051, mailto:[email protected]), [46]
  • Unirea Shopping Center, Piata Unirii, tel. 40213030307 (mailto:[email protected]), [47]
  • City Mall, Sos. Oltenitei nr.2, tel. 40(021)3114260 (fax 40(021) 3193521, mailto:[email protected]), [48]
  • Baneasa Shopping City, Sos Bucureşti-Ploieşti nr.42D, tel. 40213057195 [49] - opened in April 2008
  • Liberty Center in section 5, opened 31st October 2008

Book Stores

Book stores with a good supply of English language books are difficult to find in Bucharest but there are a few places mainly situated in the center. *Carturesti, str Arthur Verona nr.13, tel 4021 3173459 (0721518351, 0788758408) [50] - A few blocks south of Piata Romana on the east side of Bd. Magheru. The store is set back the street and has a small park in front of it.

  • Nautilus [51] is an English language bookstore near the Kiseleff Park, mostly with fantasy and science fiction books.
  • Anthony Frost English Bookshop, Calea Victorei, Nr. 45, Sect 1, Bucharest, Romania (The bookstore near the Art Museum. Walk down the right side of the large building just to the left of a very old church. The bookstore is near the back.), 0040213115138 (). is a recently-opened English language bookstore. Lots of reasonably-priced books and a comics (mostly manga) section.
  • Dalles - situated near Piata Universitatii (University square)

Also, the biggest chain of libraries in Romania called "Diverta" has in every location a department with English/German/French books.

Eat

  • Taj Indian Restaurant (Calea 13 Septembrie, 127-131,), Sector 5, Bucuresti (Near Marriott hotel), 410.18.20, [10]. 12.00 - 24.00. Good Indian restaurant near Marriott hotel. A good place to be for vegetarians specially. There are not too many vegetarian friendly places in Bucharest, a few Indian restaurants and a one or two other vegetarian friendly restaurants. The restaurant in Intercontinental also serve some vegetarian dishes. little pricey.
  • POEM Restaurant, Suter Str. 23-25 (in the Carol park area), +40-21-3363377, [52]. Bucharest's most exclusive restaurant, in the famously elegant CPH atmosphere. Excellent international chefs, but very pricey.
  • Red Lion Cafe, strada Academiei 1A (in the Universitatii area). Nice atmosphere, budget prices, very good pizza.
  • Jariştea, strada George Georgescu 50 - 52 (near the crossroad of Regina Maria Blvd. and Libertatii Blvd), +40 021 335 33 38 (mailto:[email protected]), [53], M-Su 11AM -last customer. Beautiful historically themed restaurant, live traditional music, old Romanian specialties...but always check the bill thoroughly. Reservations are compulsory.
  • Burebista (vânătoresc), strada Batiştei 14 (in front of the US embassy, near the National Theater), +40 021 211 89 29 (mailto:[email protected]), [54]. The hunting orientated place of the Burebista restaurant chain, it has bear, wild boar, venison etc. specialties at relatively affordable prices.
  • Cafeanua Actorilor, aka the Actor's Cafe, strada Batiste (located at the National Theater). Attracts a lot of Americans, because of good food, and the U.S. Embassy and Intercontinental are right across the street. The salads, especially the one called "Act II" is a meal all by itself. Service tends to be excruciatingly slow, driving away many locals.
  • Chelsea Bistro-Cafe, Str. Joule Michelet nr. 9 (just off B-dul Magheru about halfway between Piaţa Romana and Piaţa Universitatii), 0788 330 130, 0788 330 129, 317 33 78. Offers many different kinds of pizza and a wide variety of drinks. 14-28 lei/32 cm pizza.
  • La Mama (6 outlets around Bucharest, Barbu Vacarescu 3, Delea Veche 51, Episcopiei 9, and Carrefour Orhideea being the largest ones, +40-21-2124086 [55]) - a favorite amongst locals, focusing on traditional Romanian food. Reasonable prices (and the standard by which most locals would grade restaurants).
  • Cuptorul cu lemne, B-dul Pache Protopopescu nr. 63, +40-21-2522414 [56], another favorite with locals, having one of the best pizzas in Romania. A nice pizza place with a nice outdoor summer garden and a relaxed atmosphere (the restaurant also houses a caricature club). Low prices. Tends to be very crowded during weekends.
  • City Grill, a chain of steak restaurants (7 locations in Bucharest [57]), usually frequented by locals during the lunch break. One of the few places in Bucharest selling natural grape juice (must). Prices slightly higher than average, but with larger portions than average.
  • Casa di David, Soseaua Nordului nr. 7-9, Tel. 021/ 232 47 15. Opened in 2005, it is a hangout of the city's nouveau riche. It comes complete with a German car ads at the entrance and an extensive wine list. Food (Italian inspired) and ambience are at best good, but portions are small and prices are far above average for Bucharest. A 3-course meal for two with local wine will set you back over 400 Lei.
  • Shark (Turkish restaurant), Strada Buzeşti nr. 35 (just off Piaţa Buzeşti near the MacDonald's there), +4021 312 31 44, 312 31 55, 312 31 66. 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. You choose cafeteria-style from the tasty, often spicy Turkish specialties on display, then they are served at your table. The amiable and gracious multilingual host will aid you. No alcohol. 20-40 lei/person.
  • Rossetya, 9 Str Dimitrie Bolintineanu, classic style restaurant with prices a bit higher than average, but with a very neat and cultivated atmosphere, outstandingly friendly english-speaking personnel, high food quality.
  • silviu's restaurant, 44,louis pasteur street (cotroceni), [11]. 11a.m. to 1a.m.. unique location,excellent cuisine,outstanding service,near Bucharest Opera House and Cotroceni Presidential Palace 20-40 euro.


Drink

  • Becker Brau, Calea Rahovei 155 (in the Palace of Parliament area), +4021 335 56 50. Mo-Fr 11.30AM-midnight, Sa-Su 11.30AM-3AM. German beer and foods. Beer is brewed on the premises, making it one of the few microbreweries in town
  • Piranha, Splaiul Independenţei 313 (in Regie, the student campus of Bucharest, next to the Polytechnic University), +4021 315 91 29. A large pub, with a huge outdoor terrace in the middle of a wooded area, featuring a small collection of exotic animals. One of the few outdoor places where the summer heat is actually bearable. A favorite amongst students, with amazingly low prices (a beer is 2.5 RON, about €0.75). However, quite crowded and sometimes noisy.
  • Caru' cu bere, strada Stavropoleos 3-5 (in the Historical Center area, next to the National History Museum), +4021 313 75 60 (), [12]. The city's best known and oldest pub (opened 1879), a magnificent late 19th century setting, prices a bit high.
  • Bavaria, strada Orhideelor 19 (two bus stops away from Gara de Nord), +4021 316 64 03, +40748 511 511, [13]. A large pub and club in Regie, with German beer and a mock-German atmosphere. House music and strip club with Playboy and Penthouse parties on weekends.
  • La Motoare, (on the roof of the National Theater, Universitate Square), +40213158508. An outdoor pub on the roof of the National Theater, offering great views over the city. Mostly frequented by university students. Rock music and movies in the evening </drink>

Sleep

  • Dalin Center Hotel, Sos.Stefan Cel Mare 33A, Bucharest, Romania, +4021-211-0070, [14]. Dalin Center Hotel is a new hotel, with a particular interior design and modern facilities. Atmosfera primitoare, rafinamentul si eleganta aranjamentelor impreuna cu serviciile impecabile va vor convinge ca suntem gazda potrivita pentru orice situatie. Welcoming atmosphere, sophistication and elegance arrangements with impeccable service will convince you that we are hosting right for any situation. Best rates on official website start at EUR 69.00.

Camping

  • Camping Băneasa/Casa Alba, Aleea Privighetorilor 1-3 (at the edge of the Băneasa Forest, close to the Băneasa Airport), [15]. Space for up to 80 caravans or 120 tents, running water, showers, toilets, kitchen. It is the only camping site in Bucharest proper. Note that it is quite far from the center of the city, and, during rush hour, it may take well over 1 hour to reach downtown.

Downtown area

  • Banat, Piata C.A. Rosetti nr. 5, tel. 0040(021)3131056 (fax 0040(021)3126547), [59] - 2**
  • Capitol, Calea Victoria 29, tel. 401 315 80 30 (fax 401 312 41 69), [60] - 3***.As of 2002, US$75 single / US$98 double includes breakfast and all taxes. You may be able to get a discount by paying cash (US dollars will do nicely): ask at the desk. Comfortable, though admittedly not quite hassle-free, 100-year-old three-star hotel with big rooms and enormous bathrooms, near Cercul Militar.
  • Carol Parc Hotel, [61] - 5***** Bucharest's premiere luxury hotel, also the most expensive in town. Located near the beautiful Carol park, it has the best view of the entire city. This hotel is fully booked most of the time, mostly by business clientèle due to its exceptionally good services.
  • Continental, Calea Victoriei nr. 56, - 4****
  • El Greco, str. Jean Louis Calderon nr. 16, tel. 040021 3158141 (fax 0040021 3158898, mailto:[email protected]), [63] - 4**** is situated in the heart of Bucharest , near to the commercial and cultural zone. El Greco Hotel , founded in 1896 and recently redecorated and arranged , is offering to its clients an incursion in the world of smart and good taste.
  • Intercontinental, Blvd. Nicolae Balcescu nr. 4, tel. 40213102020 (fax 4021 3120486), [66] - 5*****
  • Relax Comfort Suites Hotel, Blvd. Nicolae Balcescu nr.22, +4021'' 3110210 (, fax: +4021 3110213), [16].
  • Sutter Inn, [70] - 3*** located in an edifice built by the renowned architect Suter in 1900 and restored and prepared to serve as a hotel in 2005, it turned, even after a short time of activity, into a well visited hotel in Bucharest for its central address, attractive prices and good services.
  • Vila Helga, str. Mihai Eminescu nr. 184, tel. +4021 2120828, (mailto:[email protected]), [71] - a hostel affiliated to Hostelling International [72]; located near Piata Romana. 10 or 10.5 euro/night (bedsheets and breakfast included).
  • Le Boutique Hotel Moxa, 4 Mihail Moxa Street, Crossroads Calea Victoriei, 4 Mihail Moxa Street, Crossroads Calea Victoriei, 010962, Tel: +4021 6505555, Email: [email protected], Boutique Hotel in Bucharest-Four star hotel in Bucharest, centrally located. Accommodations for business people who require luxury and privacy in Romania.

Northern area

  • Casa Victor, Str. Emanoil Porumbaru nr. 44 (on a quiet side street parallel to B-dul Aviatorilor a few blocks north of Parcul Kiseleff and a few blocks south of the Aviatorilor metro station), +4021 222 57 23 or 222 96 26 (, fax: +4021 222 94 36), [17]. checkout: 11:00 am. A small, pleasant hotel with friendly staff. 70 lei/double.
  • Crowne Plaza, B-dul Poligrafiei nr. 1, +4021 224 00 34 (fax: +4021 318 13 02), [18]. 5*****
  • Butterfly Villa Hostel, Str. Dumitru Zosima nr. 82 (2 minutes walk from Piata Domenii, accessable by bus #300 from the city, or bus #205 or #282 from Gara de Nord), +40 747 032 644 (), [19]. A quiet, relaxed hostel, the perfect oasis for the weary traveler in the midst of the bustling city. 12 euro including breakfast.

Palace of Parliament area

  • JW Marriott Bucharest Grand, Calea 13 Septembrie nr. 90, +40 21 4030000 (, fax: +40 21 403000), [20].

Gara de Nord area

  • Astoria, Blvd. Dinicu Golescu nr. 27, tel 40(021)3189989 - 2**
  • The Funky Chicken Hostel, Str. Gen. Berthelot 63. Close to Gara de Nord (10 min), the main squares, and other attractions. A good hostel for around 8€!

Otopeni area

  • Golden Tulip Sky Gate, Calea Bucurestilor nr. 283, Otopeni, judetul Ilfov, tel. +4(021) 2036500 (fax +4(021) 203.65.10, mailto:[email protected]), [73]
  • Vila Gabriela, Str. Margaritarului 18, Vila A 104, Otopeni, judetul Ilfov, tel: 40(021) 2362053 (mailto:[email protected]) - It's located just outside Bucharest on the way to the international airport. That is why it is well connected to the center: you can use the bus for the airport that passes very often. The number of the bus is 783, it goes from the airport to Piata Unirii and back. The return ticket is 5 lei, you can buy it on the bus, last ride is at about 23:00; be early because they are not very punctual. The place is a very nice big house managed by a friendly couple, Carmina and Vlad. Carmina can speak English, French and Italian. The rooms are clean and welcoming. The double room costs 25 euro/night (you can pay in euro) with a shared toilet. If you want the best room, you'll also get your own toilet for 35 euro/night. The breakfast is always included. If you contact them by email, they might offer you to come to pick you up at the airport for 8 euros. According the standard prices in Romania, this is very expensive. The 783 bus goes there straight away and it is much cheaper but, since you don't know exactly where it is, you might consider accepting it. Then, when you'll become more expert of the local transport, you can do by yourself.

Apartments rental


  • Alia Accommodation Bucharest [75], tel. +4 0745.500.676 , +4 0720.906.725 (mailto:[email protected]) - Luxury serviced apartments located in the city center at around the University Square. The apartments are fully furnished and equipped and are suitable for holiday as well as corporate accommodation. Prices starting from 45 Euro/day include cable TV, ADSL high speed internet, AC, cleaning twice a week, all utilities and all texes.


  • Bucharestaccommodation.com, tel. 4(021) 3306439, 0040 723214491 (mailto:[email protected]), [76] - affordable apartments starting from 30E/day, in Downtown Bucharest, 3*** hotel standard, with queen size bed, CATV, local calls & Internet connection. They organize Bucharest sightseeing and tours all over the country from 50E/2pers.


  • Bucharest Apartment Rental [77], tel. +4 0318.107.400 (mailto:[email protected]) - Luxury apartments located right in the city center at Unirri Square and near the University Square. The apartments are fully furnished, equipped and are suitable for holidays as well as corporate accommodation, short or long term rentals. Features included are: Luxury furnishings, cable TV, ADSL high speed internet, fully equipped kitchens, air conditioners and cleaning service twice a week.


  • Accommodation Apartments [78], tel. +4 0723.824.996(mailto:[email protected]) - Fully new furnished apartments 3-4*** downtown located Sala Palatului, Magheru Ave, Romana Square, University. All apartments has A/C, washing machine, Wi-Fi high speed internet acces. Cleaning services every 3 days. Airport transfer.


  • StayInBucharest [79], tel. +4 0728.098.893 booking[at]stayinbucharest.com. For both short-stay visitors and long stay visitors/residents with a wide range of modern furnished Bucharest apartments right in the downtown of Bucharest. Fully furnished apartments with maid services and all utilities (heating, hot and cold water, electrical power, local phone calls, cable tv and hi-speed internet) included!

Stay safe

Buses are safe, but use your common sense, and use internal pockets, just to be 100% sure. Taking taxis from areas frequented by foreign tourists may also pose a threat as some of these taxis may be operated by con men waiting for an unsuspecting victim. This is especially true for taxis around Gara de Nord where their associates actively try to lure you into such cars. Tactics range anywhere between overcharging you to taking you to an ATM and having armed associated forcing you to withdraw large sums of money. If possible, avoid taking cabs from Gara de Nord unless you are familiar with the taxi operators there.

As strange as it sounds, you'll see that Bucharest is a far safer city than its western European counterparts.

Bucharest has perhaps the largest population of stray dogs for a city in eastern Europe (numbering around a million). Although their numbers are gradually decreasing due to projects by the City Hall, they still remain a threat to safety as at least ten people have to be hospitalized every day for painful dog attacks, and at night they tend to form packs which greatly increases their danger. Rabies vaccinations are not required but recommended: there have been no rabies cases in Bucharest since 1979. Most dogs will not give you a problem unless you go out of your way to pester them, but many dogs have been treated poorly, and thus be extremely wary of them, and do not approach a stray dog if you are alone. It is perhaps best to walk around in a group or walk where you see other people.

Like most other big cities, walking around at night isn't safe in some parts of the city like Pantelimon, Ferentari, Giulesti, Balta Alba, and the Gara de nord area. If you must travel into these neighbourhoods, it's safer to take a taxi. Gara de nord is not particularly dangerous to walk in but avoid suspicious looking characters and if you feel that you are being followed just walk into the station; the unoffical red light district is Matasari which is also a popular place for clubbers and pubs; you can walk there without any worries because it's always crowded and lively but avoid talking to strangers in that particular area, especially gypsies. It's always better to walk on boulevards and avoid alleys an backstreets. The crime rate is low, but a traveler must always be cautious. Violent attacks are very low,but if attacked. Just yell Ajutor.It is very difficult for anyone to get away with violent crime because everything is packed so closely together, any loud noise will attract attention. And this is truly a city that doesn't sleep. You'll find people out and around at all hours in most parts of the city. Police men are pretty friendly and the younger ones speak English so you can ask directions;

One must be incredibly careful as a pedestrian in Bucharest. Drivers are inconsiderate and often do not obey traffic signals. NEVER assume a car will stop for you at a red light - be vigilant at all times. This is probably the biggest hazard in Bucharest, not so much in the daytime when crowded streets makes it impossible to drive cars at high speeds but at night the streets clear out and there are a lot of illegal racing and reckless driving on main boulevards

Stay healthy

It is generally NOT recommended to drink tap water, mostly because the old pipe network that the city has at its disposal, and the huge amounts of chlorine added into the water. You should buy bottled water, available in 2 liter bottles (carbonated - apă minerală/acidulată, or non-carbonated - apă plată; about 2.0-2.5 RON/bottle), or in 5 liter bottles (non-carbonated, about 3.0-5.0 RON/bottle).

Those with allergies may find Bucharest annoying in that it is both hot and very dusty in the summer, with temperatures easily exceeding 40 C in July and August, so bring whatever you might need to stay comfortable. Please note that there are very limited shaded areas in Bucharest, so, during the summer, sun strokes and heat strokes can be very dangerous.

Pharmacies are usually open between 9 AM and 6 PM, but many will stay open through the night. In Romania, there are relatively few over-the-counter drugs available, but pharmacists are allowed to dispense limited quantities of some prescription drugs (such as pain relief medicine) for what they see as immediate needs. Bucharest has 6 designated emergency hospitals and a modern ambulance service, plus a large number of additional public and private hospitals, clinics, and dental practices.

Get out

  • Snagov is a small town 20 km north of Bucharest, and a quick escape from the city for many locals, with its big lake and beaches. Visit the small monastery on the island in the middle of the lake, where the grave of Vlad III lies (better known as Dracula or Vlad The Impaler). (Note that the route from the highway to the monastery is not very well signposted from the highway and quite hard to get to, and you will need to rent a boat)
  • Mogoşoaia is yet another small town close to Bucharest (5 km), featuring a large late 17th century palace in the unique Brâncovenesc style.
  • Butterfly Tours, +40 745 349 270 (). Runs affordable ---- and informal day trips to Snagov, Sinaia, Braşov and many other destinations by request.
  • Bucharest is one of the starting points for trips inside Romania. See the country article for longer trips.



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!